Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces - Department of Biomaterials
The Department of Biomaterials focuses on interdisciplinary research in the field of biological and biomimetic materials. The emphasis is on understanding how the mechanical or other physical properties are governed by structure and composition and how they adopt to environmental conditions.
MSc thesis: Game Theory of Bone Metastasis
Application of spatial Evolutionary Game Theory to study the mutual relationship between different kinds of bone cells (osteoblasts, osteoclasts, osteocytes) in their interaction cells.
Background: Applied Mathematics, Physics or Engineering
You should have a background in applied mathematics, physics or engineering with good programming skills, attitude towards understanding theoretical and mathematical modeling and strong interest in the biology of cancer. The project will be carried out at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in collaboration between the groups of Dr Amaia Cipitria and Dr Angelo Valleriani.
What we offer:
This project is predominantly theoretical, yet interaction with ongoing experimental work of breast cancer bone metastasis will be available all time. In this project, the mutual interaction between different types of bone cells is modeled as the spatial interaction between bone volumes that are predominantly occupied by those cells. Each type of cell is represented as a strategy of an evolutionary game. The interaction matrix is the pay-off matrix of the evolutionary game between the various strategies. In the first part of the project, you will reproduce available results of physiological bone remodelling by simulating the spatial game in the absence of cancer cells and determining a qualitative map of various coexistence regions as function of few relevant parameters. In the second part of the project, you will introduce a new strategy represented by the cancer cells. This will increase the complexity of the model and will provide useful insights into the way cancer cells can hijack physiological processes of bone formation and resorption and alter this balance to induce pathological bone destruction. You will investigate which parameters of their interaction with the other cells (as included in a new pay-off matrix) can promote or hinder metastasis development. Whenever possible, analytical mathematical results will complement the computational work.
How to apply:
Please send your application including a motivation letter, your CV and a transcript of your university record via email to email@example.com. Please indicate “Master thesis – Game theory of bone metastasis” in the subject line.